Thursday, May 31, 2012

May OLW Reflection: Lessons Learned from Balloons

Today is our last day of school! Last week, I read an idea on twitter that I decided to try for the first time to close our school year. I asked my class to write down one thing they would like to do before they leave our school to go to middle school.  I collected all the little pieces of paper divided them into groups and put them in the seven balloons above.  Every day and even today, we will pop a balloon and celebrate the event in it.  Our schedule is on the board each day, and the blue balloon shows the time of day we celebrated by popping our class balloon. This helped with the inevitable question, "Where are we going to pop the balloon?" 

Last week, we popped the balloon and inside were the three sheets that told us to go play soccer as a class.  First, I have never played soccer, and my own children did not play soccer, but I still played and I am really bad. I cheated I guess: I touched the ball with my hands, I accidentally pushed someone to save me from getting kicked in the shin, and finally I screamed really loud when I went to kick the ball to scare the student. I guess I wasn't being very mature but my class LOVED me playing with them. Finally we had a wonderful moment when one student who never plays sports had to play, but the amazing thing is 2-3 friends helped him learn to play and as a class everyone came together to help him score his first goal ever in eleven years!!  I never saw that coming when the first balloon popped.

After we completed the activity, I shared our new read aloud:  Balloons Over Broadway by Melissa Sweet.  I found this book with my friend, Mary Lee, on our  Blogger's visit to Cover to Cover.  I was excited just by the cover and then to learn about the story of how the balloons are made for the Macy's Day Parade it was so much fun. But the hook for me purchasing the book came when Mary Lee showed my how to use use the QR code in the back of the book.  Very cool!!! In addition, I shared Wonder #603 with my class this week, Do you Love a Parade?

Other blogging friends are posting their OLW end of the month reflection. Thanks for cross posting with me.  Enjoy reading Tracy's post about listening @ A Teaching Life.

This morning I found Ruth's post @ Two Writing Teachers about her reflection on the end of the school year. Tara @ A Teaching Life posted her May reflections also. Happy summer to those who are finished and for those who haven't the finish line is right around the corner.


  1. What a fun way to close out the year and focus on the community we have spent all year building, rebuilding, and appreciating! Happy Last Day to you!!!!!!

  2. Another great year in your classroom draws to a close, Maria. What a lot of learning and growing your kiddos have had a chance to do...thanks to YOU! And how cool that you were able to connect with Mary Lee and walk away with an awesome book, too!!

  3. Thanks Ladies, always great to hear from you both. We had a great end of the year and the kids loved the balloons. Just enough excitement to look forward to each day.

  4. A. I mustmustmust get better at reading blogs even when I'm busy up to my ears. I have loved reading through your last month of school.

    B. I mustmustmust write more posts about what's going on in my classroom and my reflections about my teaching. I dont' do that, and then the thinking gets lost.

    C. Case in point (re: B), Yes Day. One of my students gave the class a book from the book fair, Yes Day by Amy Krouse Rosenthal. Sweet Lily never let me forget that I sort of maybe promised that the class could have a Yes Day. We planned our Yes Day for the last day of school. We brainstormed one thing for each student to ask that I'd be guaranteed to be able to say YES to. We pulled a few of them on the next-to-last day (May we please bring electronic games to school?) but mostly we kept busy on the last day of school going from one fun thing to another! I think I'll use the balloon idea next year so that the fun can be spread out over more days than just one.

  5. Thanks Mary Lee for your mustmustmust list-I have to admit committing to at least 1 monthly reflection has helped me not only process my thinking but also made me more aware during my day. I LOVE the idea of a YES DAY I think I will be borrowing that for next year.